Security

40 ISIS, Taliban fighters surrender in Kunar, deem ongoing war 'illegal'

By Khalid Zerai

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Members of the Taliban and 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' (ISIS) are seen October 11 in Asadabad, Kunar Province, before surrendering their weapons to local authorities. [Afghan Defence Ministry]

KUNAR -- Forty militants handed over their weapons on Sunday (October 11) to local authorities in Asadabad, Kunar Province.

They included 34 members of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) and six Taliban fighters who had been operating in remote, mountainous areas in Sawkai, Watapur, and Manogai districts.

Members of the two groups surrendered separately but were present at the same ceremony.

"These 34 ISIS and six Taliban fighters surrendered to the government with 28 Kalashnikovs, eight rocket launchers and four PK [machine guns]," Kunar Governor Mohammad Iqbal Saeed told reporters in the ceremony held for their surrender.

"These fighters will live like common citizens," he said.

The ISIS fighters had been hiding in the mountains and were encouraged by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) to lay down their weapons and return to normal life, Saeed said.

The surrender of these groups will improve the security of Kunar, said Kunar Chief of Police Col. Muhammad Yousuf Mazlumyar.

"Our government has been completely Islamic since the first day it was established," but groups such as ISIS "were created as part of conspiracies by foreigners," he told reporters. "In reality, all these groups were set up only to kill Afghans and to destroy this country."

"Fortunately, people now realise that this is an Islamic government and it should be supported," he said.

"These militants who laid down their weapons and returned to a normal life will have a positive impact on the security of Kunar as they were fighting and causing insecurity," Mazlumyar added. "We hope that these fighters won't allow other fighters to operate from their areas."

The surrender comes as the Taliban and the Afghan government are engaged in slow-moving peace talks in Doha, Qatar.

ISIS in Afghanistan was largely defeated by the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) late last year, though some remnants remained.

'Illegal' war

"I had been with ISIS for the last five years," said Noor Rahman, who led an ISIS group in Dewagal Valley of Sawkai District in Kunar Province.

"I used to be with the Taliban, and then I joined ISIS. We used to fight against the government, and we were told that they are all infidels, but now I realise that all of them are Muslims like us."

"We should not kill each other under one name or another but live in harmony. Therefore, I came and handed over my gun to the government," he said.

"I call on all those militants who continue fighting the government to come and support this Islamic republic so that this country can become safe and civilians can live in peace, can make progress and take a breath," said Rafiullah Haidari, a former member of the Meshrano Jirga from Kunar Province.

Both the Taliban and ISIS are continuing to kill Afghans, which must be stopped, said Mawlawi Najibullah Haqyar, a religious scholar.

"This is not a holy war, and in a holy war, you don't kill your brother, your sister or your fellow Muslim, and extort money," he said.

"Both the Taliban and ISIS have started this war illegally; therefore, they must stop it, come to the government and lay down their weapons like these individuals," Haqyar said.

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That is a key fact for us to know that we are battling for others. We are not liberated yet, so we have to give hands to one and another's for bringing peace to this mother country. If we think and look, again that conspiracy is repeating from our enemies which had happened before Talibans' Era. Again they want to fall this government down as they did before. I strongly recommend for those who are in the thought that by eradicateing current government, we'll have a peaceful and prosperous life, As a matter of fact, they are misleaded.

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The wars that are going on in the country are against the principles of Sharia and the rules of humanity. We, as Muslims, strictly condemn these wars and we ask all the militants, who have taken up arms against the government and launched anti human attacks, to stop fratricide and continue their life in a peaceful environment with their brothers and sisters, because their war is against the human principles. Today’s era requires us to think about the progress and development of our country, as well as the economic problems, poverty, illiteracy, lack of necessary possibilities of life which have made us to face serious problems. We have to give hands to each other in order to look for a solution to eradicate this crisis. No one is honest to the Afghans and no country wants to help Afghans to have a prosperous country. So Afghans are responsible and obliged to build their own country.

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ISIS fighters did a very good job to have repented and surrendered to the government. Those who repent and give up fighting are forgivable. All other people, who are fighting against the Afghan forces, should also come and stop the killings and bloodshed. How long should these poor people become victims of violence? War is enough. All armed groups must understand that weapons have to be with the government. And police and army should have weapons. Others do not have the right to carry weapons.

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ISIS was America's project. Now that the United States is withdrawing from Afghanistan and leaving Afghanistan by the beginning of the new year, ISIS fighters know that they will not have other financial or military support and Taliban also have put them in the strait. So ISIS fighters are forced to surrender to the government.

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ISIS is on the run in Afghanistan, because Taliban is gaining strength day by day and taking more territory from the Afghan government and ISIS in Afghanistan; therefore, ISIS fears that Taliban will destroy them and they are obliged to surrender themselves to the government. ISIS has been defeated in all countries of the region, such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen and others. All ISIS militants in the world have been told to go to Afghanistan, because Afghanistan has so many mountains and they can resist here, but the group was put in the strait by the Taliban and they became obliged to either surrender to the government or lay down all their arms on the ground and not fight anymore. The only strong base of ISIS in Afghanistan was in Kunar province, and ISIS was defeated there as well. ISIS cannot resist in other provinces of Afghanistan.

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